Partner at Charbonnet Law Firm LLC

Practice Areas: Life Insurance Disputes

According to Uber’s most recent safety report, over 99% of Uber trips conclude without a safety issue. However, the report reveals injuries and fatalities from crashes, although small in number, do occur. Accidents involving ride share services can present unique challenges. Unlike traditional taxi services, ride share companies operate under different regulations and insurance structures. In Louisiana, ride share drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees of the ride share company. As a result, insurance coverage can become a complex issue when an accident occurs.

Understanding who is liable and what insurance policies come into play can be confusing. Louisiana law requires ride share companies to have a $1 million liability policy to cover accidents. Yet, this policy only kicks in under specific conditions. For example, if a driver is not logged into the ride share app at the time of the accident, their personal insurance might be the primary coverage.

Decoding Insurance Policies: What Every Passenger Should Know

Insurance policies for ride share services can be a maze of terms and conditions. In Louisiana, ride share companies are required to have insurance coverage, but the specifics can vary. Generally, there are three phases when it comes to insurance coverage in a ride share journey: when the app is off, when the app is on but no ride is accepted, and when a passenger is in the car.

During the first phase, the driver’s personal insurance is the primary coverage. In the second phase, a limited liability policy from the ride share company may apply. The most comprehensive coverage is usually in place when a passenger is in the vehicle. Louisiana mandates a $1 million liability policy during this time. However, passengers should be aware such policies often have limitations and may not cover all types of injuries or damages. 

Legal Rights of Ride Share Passengers: A Louisiana Perspective

In Louisiana, ride share passengers have specific legal rights designed to protect them in case of an accident. One of the most important rights is the entitlement to compensation for injuries or damages sustained during a ride. Louisiana law mandates ride share companies carry a $1 million liability insurance policy, which can be tapped into for claims. However, this coverage is not automatic; certain conditions must be met for the policy to apply.

Another key right is the ability to file a claim against multiple parties. In some cases, both the ride share driver and the ride share company could be held accountable for an accident. Additionally, if another vehicle is involved and found to be at fault, passengers may also have the right to file a claim against the driver. Understanding these legal rights can empower passengers to take appropriate steps following a ride share accident.

How to File a Claim After a Ride Share Accident: Step-by-Step Guide

Filing a claim after a ride share accident in Louisiana involves several steps. First, it’s important to gather all relevant information at the scene of the accident. This includes driver details, vehicle information, and any eyewitness accounts. Photos of the accident scene can also be helpful. Next, passengers should report the accident to the ride share company through the app, which usually has a feature for reporting incidents.

Once the initial report is made, an investigation typically follows. The ride share company and insurance providers will review the details to determine liability and the extent of coverage. Passengers should keep all medical records and bills, as these documents can be important when seeking compensation. It’s also advisable to keep a record of all communication with the ride share company and insurance providers.

Common Injuries in Ride Share Accidents: What to Watch For

Accidents involving ride share services can result in a variety of injuries, some more severe than others. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries, often occurring in rear-end collisions. Passengers might also experience sprains, fractures, or even traumatic brain injuries in more serious accidents. Cuts and bruises are also frequent, especially if the impact causes windows to shatter or objects inside the car to move abruptly.

It’s important for passengers to seek medical attention immediately after an accident, even if symptoms seem minor. Some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions, may not show immediate symptoms but can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Medical records can also serve as valuable evidence when filing a claim for compensation.

Comparative Fault in Louisiana: How it Affects Ride Share Accident Claims

In Louisiana, the concept of comparative fault plays a significant role in ride share accident claims. Under this legal doctrine, liability for an accident is distributed among all parties involved based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a ride share passenger is found to be 20% at fault for an accident, any compensation awarded would be reduced by percentage.

Comparative fault can complicate claims, especially when multiple vehicles are involved. Insurance companies often conduct thorough investigations to determine the level of fault for each party. This can include reviewing traffic camera footage, eyewitness accounts, and other evidence. Passengers actions, such as not wearing a seatbelt, could potentially affect their claim. 

Ride Share Companies and Liability: Who is Responsible?

When an accident occurs involving a ride share service, determining who is responsible can be a complex issue. In Louisiana, ride share drivers are classified as independent contractors rather than employees of the company. This distinction often allows ride share companies to avoid direct liability for accidents caused by their drivers. However, the companies are required to carry a $1 million liability insurance policy, which can be accessed for claims under specific conditions.

Liability can also depend on the phase of the ride. For instance, if a driver is not logged into the ride share app at the time of the accident, their personal insurance is usually the primary coverage. On the other hand, when a passenger is in the vehicle, the ride share company’s insurance policy is more likely to apply. Understanding these distinctions can help passengers better comprehend who might be held responsible in the event of an accident.

Medical Treatment Post-Ride Share Accident: What to Expect

After a ride share accident, immediate medical attention is often necessary, even if injuries appear minor. Emergency medical services may arrive at the scene to provide initial treatment and, if needed, transport individuals to the hospital. At the hospital, a thorough evaluation usually takes place, which may include X-rays, MRIs, or other diagnostic tests to assess the extent of injuries.

Following initial treatment, ongoing medical care may be required. Physical therapy, medication, and follow-up visits to healthcare providers are common. It’s important to keep all medical records and bills, as these can be useful when filing a claim for compensation later on. Some injuries may require long-term treatment, and costs can add up quickly. 

Settlement Negotiations: Strategies for Maximizing Compensation

Ride Share Accident Claims

When it comes to ride share accidents in Louisiana, settlement negotiations are a common way to resolve claims. Both the ride share company’s insurance provider and the injured party will typically engage in discussions to reach an agreement on compensation. One strategy for maximizing compensation is to gather strong evidence, such as medical records, accident scene photos, and eyewitness accounts. These can serve as compelling proof of injuries and damages.

Another approach is to understand the full scope of damages, which can include not just medical expenses but also lost wages and emotional distress. Being thorough in calculating these costs can provide a stronger position in negotiations. It’s also beneficial to be patient and not accept the first offer, as initial offers are often lower than what can be obtained through persistent negotiation.

In the aftermath of a ride share accident, settlement negotiations often become a focal point for both parties. One effective strategy for maximizing compensation is to compile a robust set of evidence. Medical records, photographs of the accident scene, and accounts from eyewitnesses can all bolster a claim.

Another key tactic is to have a comprehensive understanding of all damages incurred. This includes not just immediate medical expenses, but also long-term healthcare costs, lost wages, and even emotional suffering. A detailed list of these damages can strengthen one’s position during negotiations.

It’s also wise to exercise patience during these discussions. Initial offers from insurance companies are often on the lower end, designed to close the case quickly. Holding out for a better offer, especially when backed by strong evidence and a clear understanding of damages, can result in a more favorable settlement. 

If you have been involved in a ride share accident, please contact the Charbonnet Law Firm, LLC online, or call our office at (504) 294-5094.


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